Friday, September 25, 2015

September = National Preparedness Month

The most prepared some families and individuals get is 24 hours before a major

weather event, after store shelves have been cleared of batteries, flashlights and other

essential supplies. You may not need a dumpster rental from Bin There Dump That

during a crisis, but you must craft a plan well in advance, and what better time than ~

[drum roll] ~ today!

Communication is imperative during an emergency, so have your ICE (In Case of

Emergency) programmed into every cell phone, including a contact outside your region,

in case communications are down locally. Teach everyone to text or use SMS (Short

Message Service) as it might work when a phone call does not. It is advisable to have a

contact card in every wallet, purse, book bag or backpack in case you are in different

locations and someone needs to make contact for a child or injured adult.

The most common reasons for evacuating your home or business, according to the

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are flood and fire. Determine a place

for you and family members to meet in a circumstance where you need to leave your

house, neighborhood or town at a time when you are not together. This can be a corner of

the yard, a certain street corner or a park in a neighboring community. Special

transportation needs must be addressed in advance for:

  • babies and small children
  • elderly folks, especially those with dementia or ambulatory issues
  • tween kids and teenagers
  • special needs people
  • house pets
  • horses and livestock

Your emergency kit can go with you if you leave your home or lose power at

home. Whether you live in a house, apartment, condo, travel trailer or high-rise, everyone

should have an emergency kit in a case with a handle or a backpack with handy items,

such as:

  • flashlights and batteries
  • portable radio and batteries
  • bottled water
  • non-perishable snacks
  • change of clothes for everyone
  • poncho for each person
  • contact cards
  • roll of toilet paper and paper towels
  • basic first aid supplies
  • a whistle 
  • couple toys for children
  • list of conditions and/or medications for each family member
  • three large trash bags (in case you need to carry this through water)
  • things you can toss in at the last minute include prescriptions, cell 
  • phone chargers, dog and cat food

One of the most significant and challenging aspects of dealing with an emergency

or weathering a storm at home is staying calm. Children and elderly people especially are

greatly influenced by the actions and attitudes of adults and even teens around them.

Your behavior, facial expressions, choice of words and tone of voice can make a huge

difference in the response of those close to you during a crisis. Breathe, pray, move

slowly and confidently, sing, speak in a normal tone of voice and talk to your teens in

advance, letting them know you expect them to be strong and get along with everyone

during a rough time.

Gather the family around the kitchen table and pull together your emergency plan

and disaster kit. There will be greater cooperation when everyone has been part of the

plan ~ a plan you hope you never have to use. But if you do, you are well prepared.

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